The results the world had with Apple’s new plan where mixed. By a rough estimate over 20,000 developers where trying to storm the bastille at exactly 10 am PDT. But only a fraction was successful in winning the race, many just found a system in shambles.
Theoretically the idea was wonderful: announce the time that ticket would go on sale the day before so that everybody can get ready, ask their bosses for final approval and be in front of an Internet-connected Mac with Credit Card in hand …
I had made my personal bet at around half the time it took for sell-out to occur in 2013, around an hour or so. Maybe 30 minutes if Google IO was an indication. But never would I have believed if anybody told me that it took only slightly over 2 minutes for the Sold Out banner to appear.
WWDC 2013 Ticket Flow Chart
From the messages my colleagues around the globe has posted on Twitter and App.net I pieced together this flow chart that shows all the weak points in Apple’s plan.
All the red post-its are areas where problems were encountered that we know about.
I was trying to get two tickets, one for myself, one for my employee who has never been to San Francisco nor to WWDC. Since there was this rule that each Apple ID would have to buy its own ticket I didn’t dare to edit the quantity box which I noticed with surprise when I made it into the member center. Would I have gotten 2 if I had had the guts to turn the 1 into a 2? We shall never know.
However, each team member must sign in with their own Apple ID and purchase their own ticket.
In the meantime my colleague didn’t see the Ticket button on the portal and when he finally saw it, the LDAP server had already died from the DDOS attach comprised of tens of thousands of simultaneous login attempts of desperate developers. So he was stuck in Login Limbo before he could have entered Member Center.
Logged In or Not Logged In
Later it was revealed that Apple did have some sort of cookie lottery system which assigned tickets to people already on the portal. With this number all you needed to achieve is to log into the member center so that Apple would have had the information that your e-mail address has assigned a certain ticket number.
Some people reported that their credit card company promptly barred their card as soon as they tried to pay for the ticket in their Apple Online Store shopping card. Only very few got lucky and were able to get to the orange bliss zone.
But as mentioned before, if you had gotten as far as being logged in and having a low enough number in the queue then you would get a second chance. LUCK 2.0 if you will. Because of these people Apple would actually pick up the phone and inform them that there was a ticket reserved for them. To which most responded happily “Hell Yeah!”
A Big Bag of Hurt
Which leaves tens of thousands of developers who failed at any of the shown red post-its.
I count myself amongst the LUCK 1.0 crowd, for which I am truly thankful. I had pleaded and begged Apple for a second ticket for my friend, my colleague, my best man… but as the weekend is nigh I am beginning to lose hope. Oh well, there’ll be plenty other events for him to attend: #AltWWDC and CocoaConf being two first ideas.
PS: If you lucked out, but now cannot attend WWDC for some reason … email me and I can try to get your ticket transferred to my employee – of course in exchange for the money you paid – provided Apple makes an exception to the non-transferable rule.